Types of project management services provided by supplier organizations to owner organizations


By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia


I spent most of my nearly forty “hands-on” years in project management in fully project-based organizations which supplied project management services to external customers – i.e. supplier organizations (abbreviated to SOs in some figures below). Much of my writing has reflected this perspective. However, a good deal of the standard literature on project management reflects a different perspective, which is that of production-based organizations which undertake projects from time to time. Sometimes such projects are undertaken wholly with in-house resources. But here we are concerned with externally provided project management services to such organizations, which I will describe as owner organizations (abbreviated to OOs in some figures below – following Taggart 2015), and sometimes as clients.

My supplier organization perspective had always appeared to me to be a minority one. However, Taggart 2015 has argued that there may be more project people practicing in supplier organizations than in owner organizations. This argument has led me to revisit some of my thinking about project management in relation to supplier organizations, and how they relate to owner organizations, as now introduced.


In this article we will first briefly look at the very wide range of application areas for project management services which can be provided by supplier organizations. We will then broadly re-classify such project management services into four basic types, which would apply irrespective of their particular application areas. These are:

  • Asset/service delivery via traditional contracting;
  • Asset/service delivery using external modern project management services;
  • Asset/service delivery using external project management services, plus ongoing service provision;
  • Project management consulting services

In particular, I will be looking at how these project management services relate to typical owner organizations’ project life cycles, particularly in relation to timing aspects. I will also briefly discuss relationships between the supplier and owner organization in each case, and also on success criteria for each.

We start with looking at the range of application areas for project management services which can be provided by supplier organizations.


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Editor’s note: This paper is by Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still accepting some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below.



About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)



Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 170 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.